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Biden administration approves summer E15 gas sales in midwestern states

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(The Center Square) – High gas prices due to the conflict in the Middle East is one of the reasons why the Biden administration is allowing sales of ethanol blended gas beginning on May 1, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

The emergency waiver was announced Friday by EPA’s Region 7, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Nine Tribal Nations.

“Allowing E15 sales during the summer driving season will increase fuel supply, while supporting American farmers, strengthening our nation’s energy security, and providing relief to drivers across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state officials have fought for year-round sales of E15 gasoline. The Biden administration agreed to allow Iowa and seven other states to sell the cheaper blend in the summer months beginning in 2025.

“This is a huge victory for Iowa farmers, American energy independence, and consumers,” Reynolds said. “However, it comes after a disappointing decision to delay implementation to permit year-round sales of E-15 in eight midwestern states. The call for this action came from a coalition of Midwest Governors two years ago, and unjustified delays have only prolonged the uncertainty for consumers, fuel retailers, ethanol producers, and farmers.”

Sales of gasoline with 15% ethanol content in Iowa grew 49.2% from 2022 to 2023, according to the 2023 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report from the Iowa Department of Revenue.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association called the Biden administration’s decision a “victory for consumer choice.”

“Retailers not currently offering E15 in these eight Midwest states can now move forward knowing E15 is a year-round fuel,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “We expect E15 adoption to happen quickly. But we’re not done. This is a great stepping stone to continue the fight to achieve year-round, nationwide E15.”

Iowa gas prices are about a dime higher than last month’s but still lower than a year ago. The current price for a regular unleaded gallon of gasoline is $3.33, according to AAA. Iowa residents were paying $3.55 a gallon a year ago.

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